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Gateway's extracurricular policy might be delayed

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 11:31 p.m.

Three Gateway School board members said they support delaying a policy that would prohibit administrators from holding supplemental contracts for advising extracurricular activities.

The policy is set to take effect Jan. 1, at which point advisers of both the robotics team and yearbook committee would be forced to step down.

Board members Bob Elms, Janice Rawson and Skip Drumheller said they would vote to delay the policy until the end of the school year. School Director Jim Capell declined to comment.

The remaining school board members could not be reached for comment.

The robotics team is scheduled to begin building robots just a few days before the policy would take effect. Earlier this month, parents complained to the board that the policy is unfair to team adviser Sean McMahon and students.

Though she's glad to hear that school directors might delay the policy, Gateway parent Melissa Worms is among a group of parents who would like to see the advisors maintain their positions beyond this school year.

“The hope is they'll be able to continue to lead those teams in the future,” Worms said. “They are excellent and have done wonders for the students.”

School directors said the policy was established to prevent an athletic director from favoring one sport by also serving as a coach.

After the policy was approved in June, school board members pushed back its implementation date to Dec. 31 so Terry Smith, Gateway's athletic director and football coach, could coach during the fall season. The Gators were eliminated from the WPIAL playoffs over the weekend with a 17-14 quarterfinals loss to Woodland Hills.

Elms said he didn't realize when the policy was approved that it would affect both the robotics team and yearbook committee.

“I'm glad Melissa Worms brought that up,” he said.

Yearbook adviser Juanita Kollar and McMahon referred questions to district spokeswoman Cara Zanella.

The school board has voted to delay a few policies initially scheduled for this school year, including a grade-point-average policy that would have forced some football players off the team midseason and an activity fee that would have required families to pay for students to participate this year.

“(Delaying the policy) is in line with a couple other policies and decisions we've made,” Drumheller said.

Drumheller said it was possible that a vote to delay the supplemental contract policy could take place yesterday.

That meeting took place after this newspaper's print deadline. For an update, see www.yourmonroeville.com.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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